COVID-19: Latest developments in the Greater Toronto Area on April 17

Here are the latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic in the Greater Toronto Area for Saturday:

Many police forces say they won't use new powers

Many police forces in Ontario say they won’t be using new powers that allow officers to stop anyone and ask why they’re not at home.

The provincial government announced the measures on Friday in a bid to strengthen enforcement of the stay-at-home order.

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But the new powers have drawn sharp criticism, and the Toronto Police Service, Peel Regional Police, York Regional Police and Halton Police Service are among the forces saying they won’t be used.

“The Toronto Police Service will continue to engage, educate and enforce, but we will not be doing random stops of people or cars,” a post on the Toronto police Twitter account said.

“We can all do our part for the health and safety of everyone. The Toronto Police Service will continue to engage and enforce equitably and effectively, recognizing always that we must inspire public trust.”

Read more: Many Ontario police forces won’t use new COVID-19 powers to conduct random stops

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New measures come into effect

The surging COVID-19 caseload has Ontario “on its heels,” prompting the urgent need for tougher measures to regain control of the deteriorating situation.

And with that dire warning, Premier Doug Ford announced a raft of new restrictions Friday that went into effect first thing Saturday morning.

The province’s stay-at-home order is being extended an extra two weeks, outdoor gatherings are now restricted to members of the same household only — though people who live alone can join another household — and all recreational facilities such as sports fields, playgrounds and golf courses are now closed.

Read more: Ontario’s new COVID-19 restrictions include increased police powers, restricting gatherings

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Status of cases in the GTA

Ontario reported 4,362 new coronavirus cases on Saturday.

Of those:

Ontario reports more than 4,300 new cases, 34 deaths

Ontario reported 4,362 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to 412,745.

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Thirty-four new deaths were also reported, marking a third-wave high and bringing the provincial death toll to 7,698.

The province indicated that the positivity rate for the last day was 6.9 per cent, which is down from Friday’s report, when it was 8.2 per cent, and up from last Saturday’s report, when it was 6.5 per cent.

Provincial figures showed there are 2,065 people hospitalized with the virus (up by 110 to reach a new pandemic high), with 726 in intensive care (up by 25), 501 of whom are on a ventilator (up by 21).

Read more: Ontario reports more than 4,300 new COVID-19 cases, 34 deaths

More than 107K more vaccines administered in Ontario

As of Friday evening, 3,751,316 COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in Ontario, marking an increase of 107,278.

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So far, 344,244 people in the province are considered to be fully vaccinated.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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